Diaper rash. The environment. What's in those scary disposable things anyway? Laundry, mounds and mounds of laundry and the communal washer & dryer. Diaper pails. Where have all the diaper services gone? Why isn't there some way to combine convenience & ethical consumption???
Yes, friends. The question of what we'll be putting on our daughter's butt is fraught with morally problematic consequences. It is one dark deep morass of ethical quandary.
Here's what we've figured out so far. There are three basic options. No, really, there are three. Surprisingly. First, we can be evil and use disposable diapers. We can try to mitigate our evilness by using Seventh Generation diapers such as one finds at the Whole Foods down the street. (Although we'd order them online and save $$$.) But these are not any more biodegradable than your average Huggies; the difference seems to be a health-related concern about the effects of chlorine on your baby's bum. Or, we could be brave and use cloth. This breaks down into 2 sub-options, at least theoretically, because we could 1) use a diaper service, or 2) launder them ourselves.
Or, the amazing third option: gDiapers. These nifty little things are disposable, flushable, and biodegradable. No diaper service. No laundry. No diaper pail. And they won't be the last thing left on earth after the nuclear blast along with the cockroaches.
Yes, I'm in love with option #3. The problem is, these wonderful little innovations are twice as expensive as normal disposables, and significantly more than what a diaper service would cost, even. Here's how the numbers crunched out (oh, yes, we crunched the numbers, we're serious about our dilemma): Seventh Generation disposables, $700/year; cloth (diaper service), $800-900/year; cloth (self-laundered), $200/year; gdiapers, $1500/year.
Now, seriously, the problem breaks down like this. Laundering our own diapers? Stinky and a lot of effort, but these things are not hurdles for me personally. I'm stoic. But the communal washer/dryer situation? Not only is this massively inconvenient in terms of flights of stairs and possible usage conflicts, but how many neighbors are likely to look upon the usage of their washer for loads of diapers without resentment, fear of contagion, and downright hostility? So...diaper service? So far all our searching has led us to about three defunct services, one private residence and two fax numbers. You'd think Princeton would have a diaper service--all these rich and supposedly liberal, educated, care for the environment types--but apparently not. So...it comes down to, do we cave and start shopping at Sam's for the cheapest Huggies around, or do we start waiting tables to afford ethical diapers for the kid?
Seriously, those of you who have already braved the terrifying unknown of parenthood, any advice? Anything we've overlooked? Those of you with masterful research skills, have we missed a fourth option? Those of you also facing the prospect of imminent parenthood, what are you doing?